Friday, December 31, 2010

Canada's Abortion Debate

I am always excited when I hear of people engaged in this issue; they have probably been around forever, and I have only just heard of them, but exciting nonetheless.

Thanks to ProWomanProLife

I came across Joseph Ben-Ami, a well-spoken conservative Canadian who is calling for the Canadian government to have the abortion debate that it has avoided since 1988.

You can hear him at this link
Abortion, Parliament, and the Supreme Court of Canada when he was on a talk show on CFRA. Who knew that Canada had anything that resembled talk-radio? Yeah!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sex au Naturel

The author of this book, Sex au Naturel - What it is and Why it's good for your marriage, is visiting family in Halifax this Christmas and our pastor took the opportunity to have him speak at Canadian Martyrs' church last night.

Patrick Coffin is a graduate of religious studies at Mt. St. Vincent University, holds a graduate degree in philosophy from McGill University in Montreal, and a masters in theology from the Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. He is currently the host of the most widely-listened-to Catholic radio talk show called Catholic Answers out of San Diego, California. You can check out the radio show here .

Patrick gave an engaging hour-long talk to a group of about 100 people and then took questions from the audience. Afterward, there was a reception and we had a chance to meet Patrick personally and also to buy an autographed copy of his book. If you have a chance to hear Patrick, take advantage of the opportunity, it is well worth it. And of course, if you do or don't, read the book at least.

Patrick was not always a follower of the Catholic Church's teaching on birth control. He began as a critic, became a skeptic, and then was won over to the validity of the church teaching through study and through his own growth in marriage. He is a very good speaker and, for such a young man, he has already overcome the problem of too much self coming across instead of the subject matter. He is able to articulate the teaching and communicate it without any finger-pointing, a rather difficult task given the subject matter.

I took extensive notes and will attempt a brief summary.

1. A lot of people are "wounded" in their sexuality and we are seeing this most blatantly in the current gender confusion. There are many "bruised reeds" in our modern world.

2. Until 1930, when the Anglican Church held the Lambeth Conference and approved of birth control in marriage, all Christian churches were against contraception.
Men like Luther and Calvin had very strong words for contraception, not hesitating to call it akin to murder.

3. The Catholic Church holds that natural family planning can be known by "all good men" because it follows from the natural law. The problem is that man's sinful nature makes us stupid and God knows that we need divine revelation, hence the Commandments.

4. The contraceptive mentality is like a religion itself, having a creed of lust, a priest like Hugh Hefner, the prayer of pornography, and the sacrifice of abortion.

When Pope Paul VI brought out Humanae Vitae in 1968, he did so into a cultural revolution that was underway throughout the western world, and even the clergy expected him to relax the church teaching on contraception. Given the tenor of the times, when sexual restraint was removed by virtue of "the pill", it was almost impossible to get a good hearing for this encyclical. Especially since there seemd to be no side effects (actually I disagree strongly with this point, as I will write in a later post: women are paying dearly for the use of the pill with increased risk of breast cancer). There followed dissent amongst the church; in Canada, we even had the Winnipeg Statement issued a few weeks after the encyclical's publication in which the majority of Canadian bishops seemed to agree with the encyclical until the last statement. In that sentence, they claimed that couples who found it too hard to follow the teaching could rest assured that they were acting in good faith if they followed their own consciences. This opened the floodgate in Canada, at least, to the complete lack of teaching on the subject in our Canadian churches. Other countries did similar things to the Winnipeg statement, although Canada seems to have been the most outspoken in its dissent.

However, what Pope Paul VI predicted as the consequence of artificial birth control, has actually come to pass. Because contraception introduces separation and alienation into an act that is meant to unite man and woman, there follows the principle of the non-procreative orgasm and this leads to a lack of respect for women, the acceptance of sterile sexual acts, and of course abortion because the "unplanned pregnancy" becomes now the "unwanted baby" - a huge difference in perspective.

"Contra" means "against" and "ception" means "the beginning" so contraception means literally "against the beginning". When contraception becomes the theory behind sexual practice, abortion becomes necessary. Every country that has legalized artificial contraception has seen an increase in abortion; the two are fruits of the same tree.

So does the Church say that women then have to be baby-machines and have as many children as biologically possible? Definitely not. What the Catholic Church objects to is the means used to prevent pregnancy, not the prevention of pregnancy. When a couple uses the rhythm of a woman's cycle to space children, they are cooperating with nature but at the same time, they are always open to life. And the reason to be open to life is because we are not the author of it, God is. How many children are not here because couples have decided that one child or two children were all they wanted? In every instance, anyone who is for contraception makes an exception for the night when their mother and father conceived them. That is because life is something we all cherish and we would not wish it otherwise.

So what are the benefits of following the Church's teaching on birth control?
Well, there is no denying the statistics that show couples who use natural family planning actually have much lower divorce rates than couples who use artificial birth control. There is a closer bond between husband and wife, as both are involved in the spacing of their children, not just the woman who pops a pill. Because the root of dissent is fear, couples who are not open to having a child are showing a lack of confidence in divine providence - "the Lord won't take care of this baby that He allowed to be". And this lack of confidence in God's provision results in a crisis of faith that spills over into the rest of their lives.

Natural family planning treats God as an equal partner in a poker game. Contraception treats God as the opponent in the game and regards new life as an object to be avoided. Once we accept artificial contraception, which means sterile sexual acts, then we have no argument against homosexuality or against IVF or pornography, the list goes on.

Scripture is full of passages in which God says "be fruitful and multiply": Genesis 1:27 when God commands Adam to fill the earth, Genesis 9:1 with Noah, Genesis 35:11 to Jacob. Being blessed is associated, in the Bible, with having many children. Psalm 127:3-5 says:

Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.

As Patrick quipped, what man, preparing for battle with an enemy, would go out with 2.1 arrows in his quiver?

And he then spoke of the false theory of over-population; the reality is a current population implosion in the western world - Russia is now giving prizes to couples who have children on a special day; Greece, Italy, Spain are all destined for decline given that they are not replacing themselves; in Canada our own province of Quebec gives more and more money to couples who will have children, as they face demographic disaster brought on by contraception and abortion.

Patrick likes to use analogies and one that seemed particularly apt was this one: eating is to the human body what sexuality is to the human race. If you see someone eating food and then sticking a spoon down their throat to vomit, you would conclude the person had bulimia, an "eating disorder". So, when we see people engaging in sexual activities but avoiding the natural consequence which is children, we should likewise call that a "sexual disorder". There is a reason that God linked sex and procreation; He could have separated the two but he didn't. And natural family planning respects what God has joined together (double meaning fully intended).

The first principle of the Christian life is to pray. We are called to sanctity, to love with God's love, to take as our example Mary who said yes to everything except sin. The inner truth of conjugal love is to be open to all the possibilities of total self-giving. With contraception, there is no self-mastery and no rhythm of "no, yes, and not yet".

Great talk, get the book. And kudos to Father Mark Cherry who had the guts to bring into the open a subject that most clergy avoid like the plague.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Birth of Jesus Christ

This past week, one of the Gospel readings was the story of the visitation of Mary to her cousin, Elizabeth. Mary had just assented to become the mother of God's son Jesus and to reassure her that with God all things are possible, the angel Gabriel told her that her cousin was also pregnant. Elizabeth was "advanced in years" and had been barren. Without hesitation Mary went to visit Elizabeth, in my mind she went to help her as Elizabeth would have been six months pregnant and in need of help. Mary remained with her for three months, presumably until baby John the Baptist was born.

The story of the visitation tells of Elizabeth's joy at seeing Mary and she calls her the "mother of my Lord" as Elizabeth must have been given the knowledge of Mary's pregnancy. What amazes me when I hear this story is the fact that John, in Elizabeth's womb, recognizes Jesus in Mary's womb and leaps for joy.

Some people say that the Bible is silent on the subject of abortion. Perhaps directly, but not silent on the sacredness of pregnancy. Throughout the Bible, pregnancy is seen as a blessing, the people of Israel are encouraged to have children and many of them. In fact, if a man had many children, he was seen to have been blessed by God, irrespective of his material well-being.

Don't miss what happens here: baby John is spoken of as a person already in existence and baby Jesus is a person too since John recognizes him. What clearer statement could be made about the personhood of the child in the womb?

And now we come to the Nativity: the most profound statement of our God about the unborn. Jesus could have come to earth in any other way, but God chose to have his Son come through the process of conception and pregnancy and birth, just like the rest of the human race. This speaks volumes about what God would say about abortion. If his Son Jesus spent 9 months within a woman's womb and was born the usual way, and developed as all other babies develop, then we should stand in awe of the process of coming into being. It has been sanctified by God the Father, who allows us to participate in the creation of his children.

Thank you Heavenly Father for choosing to reveal yourself to us in the humble state of a babe in the womb. May we fully realise that all the unborn are our brothers and sisters, because they are brothers and sisters of your son Jesus first.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Voice from Britain

A wonderful article written by Lord Nicholas Windsor, son of the Duke of Kent and great grand-son of King George V, and therefore cousin to the present Queen. Lord Windsor recently became a Catholic, which disqualifies him from the throne (not that he would have taken it) and he is father to two children with his wife Paola. He is the first blood member of the royal family to be received into the Catholic Church since 1685.

Lord Windsor's article was printed in First Things on Dec 1 and it is remarkable. Definitely take a minute and read it. It reminds one of the wonderful speeches made by William Wilberforce on the abolition of the slave trade.

Read the article here
Caesar's Thumb

A few excerpts here:

This is a historically unprecedented cascade of destruction wrought on individuals: on sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, future spouses and friends, mothers and fathers - destroyed in the form of those to whom we owe, quite simply and certainly, the greatest solidarity and duty of care because they are the weakest and most dependent of our fellow humans. All else that we concern ourselves with in the lives of human beings derives from the inescapable fact that first we must have human lives with which to concern ourselves. By disregarding this self-evident fact of the debt owed immediately to the unborn - which is to be allowed to be born (and let us not forget that all of us might have suffered just the same fate before our birth) - humanity's deepest instincts are trampled and shattered.

This was only an implausible glimmer in the eyes of the most radically progressive thinkers and activists a century ago. Today legal, permissive abortion is a fact of life so deeply embedded and thoroughly normalized in our culture that - and this is the most insidious factor in that normalization - it has been rendered invisible to politics in Europe. Even mentioning it has become the first taboo of the culture.

We live in what is truly a moral world turned upside down, and the greatest irony may be that a broad consensus exists, in a highly rights-aware political establishment, in favor of one of the gravest and most egregious abuses of human rights that human society has ever tolerated. Didn't Europeans think they could never and must never kill again on an industrial scale? What a cruel deceit, then, that has led us to this mass killing of children, for a theoretical greater good, which in this case is simply the wish not to be bound by a pregnancy unless it is fully and freely chosen and which, outside of that parameter, is declared, by fiat, to be null and void.

h/t Jill Stanek

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bothered ....

This week, the pro-life group of my parish met with the priest to discuss what we will do this coming year. The direction has been set by the priest, and I am glad to know that he is on board with the pro-life movement and wishes to advance life issues in the parish. But something keeps bothering me.

During the meeting, it was stated by several people that we cannot use the term "pro-life" for our activities because it will scare people off. Apparently, the term has been loaded negatively by those who are "too radical". I am left wondering who are they referring to? Because I am not aware of any really radical pro-life people here, certainly not any that I would say got in my face over this issue.

Why do we hedge around the abortion issue all the time? the upshot of the meeting is that we need to educate those in the parish who are on the periphery, those who don't have much information on life issues, and carefully bring them into more knowledge without turning them off. All well and good: I understand the need to give people information, and when they have little or none to begin with, this has to be done in a wise way.

But something bothers me. Haven't we been doing this all these past 40 years? Carefully trying to convince people of the rightness of the pro-life position and trying to get them to see the sanctity of life in ways that won't offend them? And yet where are we? Most Christians don't have the abortion issue on their radar. And when confronted with it, the line comes that we need to be pro-life in our approach, not anti-abortion. It is better to be positive, not negative. People will not be attracted to something negative; they need to be enticed by an overall pro-life approach to all people and then they will be convinced of the necessity of abolishing abortion.

It just doesn't make sense. This has been our approach for 40 years and we are no further ahead than we were in 1969. As a matter of fact, the number of abortions has greatly increased, so we haven't made headway.

I think we have made peace with death. And efforts such as those of our pro-life group are well-intentioned, but futile. Because we have already made peace with the status quo.

This is Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV and a couple of his videos have been making the rounds on the internet lately. I get them forwarded to me by Catholic friends who think he is terrific; but I have never been able to share their enthusiasm. On the one hand, that hair of his really does look like a "rug", something from the 80's. But it is his finger-wagging that really makes me click away.

Just as Randall Terry may speak truth about the abortion issue, his tactics make other pro-lifers cringe. I find Michael Voris to be the same; I do not want to be associated with him, or acknowledge him as a fellow Catholic - it is just too embarrassing.

As Damian Thompson, religion editor of The Telegraph blogs, put it so well:

Such mean-spirited glee is, of course, deplorable. So let me make one thing absolutely clear. I’ve posted this video only to show what can happen when conservative Catholic commentators lose their sense of charity. Yes indeedy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

You can't trust the mainstream media

Certainly the case with all the anti-Israeli sentiment that spreads across newspapers and television reports, and is rectified by sites such as
Just Journalism.

And in the very recent case of three women challenging Ireland's abortion laws by taking their cases to the court of the European Union, the reports on mainstream media are extremely misleading. But that is exactly what they want - to mislead the public.

Ireland's abortion ban violated "woman's rights"

The headline is designed to make you think that Ireland lost the case in the court. But this is not so. The actual ruling claimed that, in the case of one woman who was in remission from cancer, Ireland failed to provide her with an alternative to her pregnancy. This was the way the story was reported in the New York Times as well, highlighting the case that ruled against Ireland and conveniently putting the other two cases further down in the story.

What actually happened was that this was a huge victory for pro-life Ireland.

Yesterday worldwide pro-abortion ideologues were dealt two huge blows. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that: 1) the European Convention on Human Rights does not contain a right to abortion; and 2) the 47 European countries bound by that convention have the right to sovereignly determine their own abortion laws. -

This case has been called Ireland's Roe v Wade; and Ireland has held strong to its pro-life stand on abortion. Let us hope that they will continue to do so in the face of mounting opposition to any country that will not make abortion legal.
Women's groups from North America and in Europe are pushing everywhere to make abortion legal throughout the entire world. They are not content with having abortion legal for themselves; they feel it is their duty to push it on women in other countries as well.

I hope to see a mighty push-back because these women do not speak for the majority of women in the world. They do happen to be the most well-funded and the most-vocal however.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Latest on Linda Gibbons

For the latest news on Linda Gibbons, check here

Free Linda

Monday, December 13, 2010

When Babies Become Commodities

The pro-life movement has warned of this for a long time: it is part of the "slippery slope" from accepting abortion, to regarding life as cheap and babies as products instead of the people they really are.

Assembling the Global Baby

In a hospital room on the Greek island of Crete with views of a sapphire sea lapping at ancient fortress walls, a Bulgarian woman plans to deliver a baby whose biological mother is an anonymous European egg donor, whose father is Italian, and whose birth is being orchestrated from Los Angeles....
The man bringing together this disparate group is Rudy Rupak, chief executive of LLC, a California company that searches the globe to find the components for its business line. The business, in this case, is creating babies.

Price ranges from $32.000 to $200,000. A tempting proposition to a woman who lives in poverty, and I have heard that this appeals to Romanians who are one of the poorest peoples in Europe. It is also becoming a practice in India, and there have been several cases written about recently of women in Britain being surrogates.

h/t Jill Stanek

And a recent quote from Celine Dion who had twins conceived by IVF, but was originally supposed to have triplets.

One little baby decided to step back to help the other two survive. The doctors said to me if there’s something wrong, natures takes it’s course. “I still think of the one who stepped back. I’m sure every woman has the feeling about -the little one that’s not there.

"stepped back"? another sterile way to say "died", I suppose.

h/t ProWomanProLife

For a good read on the Catholic teaching on conception and why IVF and surrogacy would be wrong, check this link:

Accepting Abundance

Friday, December 10, 2010

No Moral Compass

I heard a story about students at a university (unnamed to protect those involved) who were caught cheating on a test. The new way to cheat? take a photo of the test with your i-phone and send it to your friend who will be sitting the test in the next session.

The students (yes, more than one) who were caught doing this were given two choices: get zero on the test or appear before the Senate committee, which would end in expulsion from the university. All students caught accepted the zero offer.

In a society that has seen the decline of church attendance, the obliteration of conscience is to be expected. I will venture to guess that these students have probably never been inside a church or synagogue or received any instruction from their religious elders or their parents on right and wrong. Yes, that is a blanket statement, but I have a gut feeling that this is the case.

The complete lack of a moral compass in today's students reveals the complete lack of teaching on the part of their parents and those in authority. Kids raised with some moral restrictions will at least know when they are doing something wrong. These kids, when caught, did not think they had done anything immoral; they were merely upset at being caught.

For those who wish to remove all trace of religion from the public square, be forewarned that this is what you can expect and it will get worse. Without the influence of religious morality, people will simply do whatever they can get away with. And cheating on a university test will be small potatoes, compared to what they will do when given positions of power and influence in society.

A worthwhile video to watch, if you have about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The issue of "personhood"

Deliberately killing innocent human life, or standing by and allowing it, dwarfs all other social issues. Trying to avoid this fact by redefining when human personhood begins is simply a corrupt and corrupting form of verbal gymnastics.
- Archbishop Charles Chaput, in Render Unto Caesar

You see this "gymnastics" all over the internet on pro-abortion blogs and in comments on anti-abortion blogs. It's just semantics. And, if they really don't know, shouldn't they err on the side of life?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Development and Peace Fall Campaign

It's kind of ridiculous. Today's announcement made by the representative for Development and Peace in our parish concluded with asking us to create "bottled water free zones". Come again?

Yes, the fall campaign of D & P focuses on the assertion that bottled water is not better than tap water, and that bottled water companies are now taking over water sources in the third world to provide bottled water for those in the first who think that it is healthier than tap water.

Whether or not this assertion is true is a matter that should be investigated, not simply stated from the pulpit. Telling us that 80% of the bottles used are not recycled without telling us where she got that information is suspicious; but what matters more is that this really is an area for the environmentalists to have their hey-day. They can take on this issue and they will do it much better; why is the organization Development and Peace doing this?

Their efforts should focus on improving life in the third world with the truths of the Gospel foremost. Becoming engaged in a war about "bottled water" is surely something better handled by Green Peace than by Development and Peace. But I suppose, given the allegations over the last year of their support for abortion-promoting groups, water might be seen to be a lot safer than helping women and children for instance. What's next for D & P? I hope that they will simply fade away as people become aware of their strange agendas.

Vigil for Nascent Life

And I was pleasantly surprised, even more than that, I was grateful. The vigil for nascent life held last night at St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax was a two-hour vigil with solid prayers, wonderful music, and a deep thoughtful homily by Archbishop Mancini. It followed the recommended outlines set out by the Vatican with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, recitation of the Joyful Mysteries of the rosary, and benediction.

Archbishop Mancini is a wonderful homilist and his homily actually echoed many of the statements made by the Pope in his homily at St. Peter's. AB Mancini had translated some of the Pope's remarks from listening to the live broadcast from Rome earlier that afternoon.

The full text of Pope Benedict's homily can be read here but I have lifted a few sentences that I found particularly meaningful:

Dear brothers and sisters, our coming together this evening to begin the Advent journey is enriched by another important reason: with the entire Church, we want to solemnly celebrate a prayer vigil for unborn life. I wish to express my thanks to all who have taken up this invitation and those who are specifically dedicated to welcoming and safeguarding human life in different situations of fragility, especially in its early days and in its early stages. The beginning of the liturgical year helps us to relive the expectation of God made flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, God who makes himself small, He becomes a child, it speaks to us of the coming of a God who is near, who wanted to experience the life of man, from the very beginning, to save it completely, fully. And so the mystery of the Incarnation of the Lord and the beginning of human life are intimately connected and in harmony with each other within the one saving plan of God, the Lord of life of each and every one of us. The Incarnation reveals to us, with intense light and in an amazing way, that every human life has an incomparable, a most elevated dignity.

There are cultural tendencies that seek to anesthetize consciences with misleading motivations. With regard to the embryo in the womb, science itself highlights its autonomy capable of interaction with the mother, the coordination of biological processes, the continuity of development, the growing complexity of the organism. This is not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and wonderfully ordered, a new unique human being. So was Jesus in Mary’s womb, so it was for all of us in our mother’s womb. With the ancient Christian writer Tertullian we can say: ” he who will be a man is already one” (Apologeticum IX, 8), there is no reason not to consider him a person from conception.

And, like Pope Benedict, Archbishop Mancini ended his homily by committing us to the care of Jesus' mother, concluding with the words "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death".

Thank you, Archbishop Mancini. Thank you.

Friday, November 26, 2010

When does a fetus become a person?

Suzanne of Big Blue Wave posted this a few days ago, and yesterday Fr. Tim Moyle posted it.

CBC video from 1972

Reflecting on the fact that my own first baby was born several weeks premature, I realised that my experience gives testimony to the fact that personhood is part of the identity of all human beings, whether born or yet-to-be-born. The fact that Rebecca entered the world of visible human beings earlier than expected, attests to her membership in the human race. As Dr. Usher says:

"Obviously a baby is exactly the same as he is going to be, after birth,(as) one minute before birth; he is just in a different place."

So how have we managed to stray so far from this obvious truth in the past 40 years?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Linda Gibbons Blog

The case of Linda Gibbons has been of interest to me for a couple of years now and I periodically post about this pro-life victim. I decided that the subject deserves its own blog.
I have put one up, with the history of Linda's arrests and time in jail. Some years are not clear as the page on LifeSiteNews has disappeared with their new website. I will fill in what is missing as soon as I can find the info.

Free Linda

I have been corresponding with Linda since Christmas 2008 and her letters arrive regularly, at least one per month. So I am including excerpts from her letters as well on the blog.

The blog is intended to simply bring public awareness to Linda's plight. For the past 16 years, she has spent more than half of them in jail. Her crime - protesting outside an abortion clinic in Toronto, and breaking the injunction that put a "temporary bubble zone" there in 1994.

For someone who doesn't hurt a fly, that is a lot of time to have spent in jail for your convictions. And all that time, the staff of the abortion clinic have free access to their clients on the sidewalk although Linda does not. Yet the sidewalk is a public zone; so why is Linda forbidden to be there, yet pro-abortion supporters can do whatever they want in that same space?

Clearly, this is a miscarriage of justice. And to think that this happens in Canada is shocking, we are supposed to be a free democratic country. This sort of thing only happens in places like North Korea, or so we think.

The recent arrest of pro-life students on Carleton University campus is bringing this kind of biased justice to light. You can have free speech on anything, just be sure it isn't anti-abortion.

Years ago, a woman in England heard about Linda and contacted Amnesty International, thinking that surely this organization would intervene. They refused, stating that they would not get involved in a case about abortion. And the last few years has shown that Amnesty is solidly pro-choice.

I think that it is only the general public who can make this issue more known. Canadians, no matter what their stand on abortion, should be embarrassed that our justice system has kept a woman like Linda Gibbons in jail for longer than the term served by Karla Homolka.

Please visit the site, post comments, and pass it along so that people will become aware of the silent injustice that is being done to this woman.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Seeking a Comfort Zone

Pope Benedict has called for a "world-wide vigil for all nascent human life" on the Saturday evening before the beginning of Advent. So next Saturday, November 27, Catholic churches throughout the world will be joining together in prayer for the sanctity of life, specifically life in the womb, life at the moment of conception, life endangered from abortion, from IVF, from embryonic stem cell research.

Every week for the past month, this vigil has been announced in the archdiocesan bulletin in Halifax. And every week, whoever writes the announcement tries to skirt the issue. I would like to know why.

Here is this week's announcement:

Are you expecting a baby? Are you or a family member facing serious illness? Are you struggling with questions and concerns about your own worth and the meaning of your life?
Plan to come to St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica on Saturday evening, November 27, 7 - 9pm to join in the worldwide prayer vigil to invoke God's protection over every human being called into existence. This vigil marks the beginning of the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas, the feast of the Incarnation of Our Lord which gives every human life its real worth and dignity.
All are welcome to share in this time of prayer.

What part of "nascent" do they not understand? Nascent means "coming into being; beginning to develop". Surely the writer of this announcement had the sense to look up the word in the dictionary. But the announcement would indicate they did not.

Every day of the year, the Church includes intentions for people in difficult life situations. Every daily Mass has prayer intentions that include prayers for the poor, prayers for the disadvantaged, prayers for the sick and dying. This vigil was called specifically to pray for those who are at the beginning of their lives and whose lives are threatened. The Pope has spoken often of the culture of death in the world and the threat that this poses to the very foundation of our faith - that God created man in His own image and likeness. God is the author of life, not man. And abortion, IVF, embryonic stem cell research, cloning are all ways in which man seeks to take that role over from God. That is the reason behind calling for the vigil for all nascent human life. Praying for life that is threatened by illness, poverty, war, marginalization are issues that no one in present-day society has any trouble with. But the issues of abortion, IVF, scientific research using cells from aborted babies, are all issues that divide people strongly into two camps.

I would like to know who is behind this usurpation of the vigil here in Halifax, who is trying to disguise the Pope's intention in the language of the "seamless garment", a theology that both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have said is misleading.

This vigil gives Catholics an opportunity to proclaim publicly their belief in God's sovereignty over life and gives us an opportunity to publicly pray against the threats to society that come from the mindset of the "culture of death". Why, oh why, would those who hold the reins of power in this diocese try to mutate this opportunity into something that they think is more suitable, more politically correct perhaps?

The result of such efforts is a dumbing down of Catholic belief; it is making the Church here mediocre and weak. It is only the Catholic church that is speaking loudly and consistently on these issues; therefore it is completely wrong of anyone to try and water down this message when the Pope himself has called for it.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. Mt: 5:13

So because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am going to spit you out of my mouth! Rev 3:16

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Support Carleton Lifeline

A new website, where you can sign up to support the students at Carleton University.

Stand With Carleton

Signing the petition is the least we can do. But you can also write or call the President of Carleton and you can also help the students pay their legal fees by donating. Info at the link above.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Carleton University Pro-Life Censored

Carleton Lifeline, the pro-life group at Carleton University, has been told their club is not permitted to function on campus, given their anti-choice position.

Because CUSA, Carleton University Student Association, is pro-choice, they have decided that any group that opposes that stance is discriminatory and should not exist.

National Post article

The truth is that university students are running scared, because the idea that they might be wrong on the issue of abortion, is just too frightening to entertain. If they must face the fact that they may have taken part in the murder of a fellow human being, that truth will shake their world.

Youth used to be the great time of life when one would think and argue about all manner of issues, and youth were always considered fearless. But the issue of abortion hits a nerve too close to home, actually it hits the moral conscience, and so the pro-life message has to be shut down. It is simply too hard to hear.

Because, if the pro-life message is true, then it will convict those who have had abortions or taken part in abortions or advised someone else to have one. It is just too scary to consider. So, shut down the voice that bothers you. Shut it down.

Check out their blog here
Carleton Lifeline

h/t ProWomanProLife

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Talk with Angelina Steenstra

Last night, we held a closing banquet for 40 Days for Life here in Halifax and Angelina Steenstra was our guest speaker. Angelina is the Canadian director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a movement founded by Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life. It endeavours to bring women forward who have had abortions to be "silent no more", women who have felt that abortion hurt them and damaged them and wish to make that known to others. They are the "eloquent witnesses" to the sanctity of life, as Pope John Paul II called post-abortive women who regret their abortions.

Angelina's talk was intensely personal, relating how surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy forced her to relive her abortion experience, something she had shoved down and repressed for over a decade. This is not uncommon with women who have had abortions; while a woman may experience relief immediately after having an abortion, the regret and pain often do not surface for ten years. But their effects can be seen in certain behaviours; often substance abuse occurs, often sleep problems, definitely relational problems.

Some say that post-abortion syndrome is fabricated; and as with any syndrome, the scientific proof doesn't exist. There is no medical test for the syndrome, there are however the existence of certain factors that indicate the woman is suffering post-traumatic symptoms.

Angelina is a woman of deep faith; this made a big difference between her talk and that of others I have heard. Her journey was one of encountering God's forgiveness and of finding her lost children in His reality. Dismiss it if you wish, but I for one believe that the world we cannot see is more real than the one we do see. I have met several people who live in that spiritual reality and I know that they are more human than many other people I know. They are living a truth that is closer to the human heart and they live "in the constant presence of God".

And what they have to say to us touches the deepest parts of our beings; when women like Angelina share their stories, they call us to that place in our beings where we can stand naked before God and be who we really are - His children. Children who are in need of their father's love, who need to know why they exist and live and suffer, children who need to know where their home is and how to find the way back to it.

I saw many people connect with Angelina last night, and that warms my heart. Some women who have had abortions who can talk with her and share about that deeply painful experience, others who connected with Angelina on other areas. And I know that the fruit of her visit will be seen long after her time here in Halifax. But I do know that she was supposed to come here, that God used her to begin the healing of the sin of abortion in our city. I feel affirmed that our 40 Days for Life prayer vigil has brought about the start of healing and that our prayers and Angelina's journey are somehow connected in that spiritual dimension. I look forward to seeing what those fruits will be.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Make Abortions Invisible?

I believe that as long as we marginalize abortion care and it is provided solely in clinics where everybody knows your business there, then targets are made .... if we incorporate abortion care into general gynecology... we wouldn't have this problem at all, services would be invisible.

Like Canada, right? Like the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax where abortions are performed in a ward that is unmarked, where no one is allowed access without escort, where what is done is kept in the dark.

I quote Terry who works in that hospital and knows exactly where the clinic is:

It amazes me, however, how secretive the access is to these legal abortions. Here in Halifax abortions are performed on the fifth floor of the Victoria building of the QEII Health Sciences Centre. This is a locked unit, with absolutely no unescorted access. There are no signs to say what goes on behind these secured doors. Why is that? Perhaps they realize that what they are doing is wrong.

Why should a patient going in for an abortion be afforded any more privacy than one who is going in for bowel surgery? Both are very personal issues, but no one is barred from the ninth floor … only the fifth.

h/t ProWomanProLife

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On Being Light in the Culture

I posted a week ago about the article in the Chronicle Herald (Chronically Horrid is a far better name) written by Linda Yates, a United Church minister in Halifax. She had written her objections to the 40 Days for Life vigil here, and I wrote a response which the Herald actually printed.

Unequal Rights

I was then contacted by a student at King's school of journalism, requesting an interview which she hoped to air on the university radio CKDU. A most pleasant young woman who arrived at the vigil site on Saturday morning to ask some questions and record my answers. What she didn't tell me was that the radio piece was about Yates' article and my questions would be edited to give the opposite position to Yates. If I had known that, I might have answered a little differently. Be that as it may, the interview was edited down to one minute, and really what can you convey in one minute?

Yates was recorded to say that the prayer vigil gave the wrong impression of religion to the culture; that many denominations are not anti-choice, and that we were misrepresenting religion when we hold our vigil. I was not told of Yates' statement, I was simply asked how I had reacted to her article. I said that I was angered by it, that a minister would come out so strongly pro-choice was disturbing to me. Then Yates was recorded as saying that in her opinion, our vigil was such that it could, in religious terms, be called "evil". My closing remark was "you cannot be Christian and pro-choice".

Actually I was glad that she made that my last remark because I do hold that is true. I wonder if the United Church that Yates leads actually studies the words of Christ in the gospels, and if they consider that simple but direct question "what would Jesus do?"

As Christians, we are meant to be leaven in the culture. The position that Yates takes, and I assume also the United Church and the other denominations whom she says are not anti-choice, is one of condoning what the culture has already accepted. Their position of saying that women face difficult decisions about terminating their pregnancies and that we should respect that and support them is, in fact, simply tolerating an evil that God does not tolerate. They are pronouncing a blessing on what is going on in our culture, when we are actually exhorted by Christ to be a light in the darkness. We are not supposed to bless the darkness!

As I heard the interview, I was drawn to remember the Scripture where Jesus warns us that those who oppose us will actually think they are doing good. One could perhaps say that they might even call our actions "evil".

All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

Kind of calls to mind the arrest of the Carleton students, doesn't it? and Linda Gibbons in jail; the pro-choice group trying to revoke the permit of 40 Days for Life in Ottawa; all are efforts to shut down the voice of truth about abortion. So I ask "what would Jesus do?"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Starving Babies to Death

Wesley Smith has written an article entitled "It Takes a Long Time to Starve a Severely Disabled Infant to Death by Withdrawing Medically-Supplied Nutrition."

Read more here
Secondhand Smoke

Despite this, there is one factor that medication cannot alleviate, and that is the visual signs of emaciation, said Ms. Keats. “The longer a child lives, the more emaciated he or she becomes. This is something that we as clinicians need to anticipate. You can alleviate some of the physical symptoms, but this is one symptom, or result of our action, that we can’t relieve. A critical factor for counseling is to anticipate the kind of suffering that comes with witnessing the emaciation. It isn’t something people can prepare themselves for.”Autopsies are often encouraged in such neonatal palliative care cases to help both parents and medical staff gain a better understanding of the reasons for the death, said Dr. Siden. Parents should be warned that the report will document the technical cause of death as “starvation” — a loaded word for all concerned. It is important that parents separate this word from any notion of suffering, he said.

I know that this goes on here in Halifax at the Isaac Walton Killam Hospital. I was told this by a staff person who works on that floor. Notice the disconnect on the part of the doctor when he says:

There’s an ethical component to doing research. If you don’t do research yourself, you need to support those who do, because we desperately need to know more,” Dr. Siden asserted. “There’s a technical aspect to what we do, and we need to become really good at that because we need to be able to say to people, without a doubt, that we are going to do this and there is not going to be any kind of suffering. You’ve got to be very on top of your game.

on top of your game? ooops

I think the first comment by Brady says it all:
"Sick. They are trying to sneekily push this crap on us in med school too."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I am at once a physician, a citizen and a woman, and I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged and the planned have the right to live. - Dr. Mildred Jefferson

Dr. Mildred Jefferson, a prominent, outspoken opponent of abortion and the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School, died Friday at her home in Cambridge, Mass. She was 84.

Read more on Jefferson here
NY Times article

Jennifer Derwey on ProWomanProLife

Monday, October 18, 2010

On Being Leaven in the Culture

Picture from EWTN News

Archbishop Chaput addressed a youth conference in Victoria, BC on October 16. He related the story of a teacher who noticed a desensitization in her students over four decades, while using the same story with each class. From initial shock and indignation over human sacrifice to boredom to acceptance of this as a cultural element, the teacher was dismayed to see how students had lost their moral sensitivity in two generations. Chaput calls this losing our "moral vocabulary" but I think something stronger might be used.

At risk of relating everything back to abortion, I can't help but think that a nation that gets used to the increasing numbers of legal abortions is bound to be a nation that can accept anything in the end. If we accept violence to the child in the womb as a solution to our problems, then we will accept violence outside of the womb as well.

Read the article here

h/t Deborah Gyapong

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Prayer Vigil November 27

In today's archdiocesan bulletin:

Prayer Vigil at the Cathedral
Saturday November 27, 7pm - 9 pm Save the Date!

Come to saint Mary's Cxathedral basilica to join Archbishop Mancini in the worldwide Prayer Vigil for all human life.
Pope Benedict XVI has asked all the bishops of the world to gather their people on that evening to pray for this intention, in solidarity with him as he leads the celebration at St. Peter's basilica in Rome.

Google this event and every site you find will list this as what the Pope called for - a "vigil for nascent life".

Is Halifax the only place that has changed the words and made this the all-inclusive "seamless garment"-type vigil that is indicated in the description above?

Perhaps the word "nascent" is not in their vocabulary.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Carleton Arrest and Father Simon Lobo

The arrested student above, Ruth Lobo, has an interesting story. Listen to her brother's homily to hear how significant this incident is. How wonderful it is to hear a priest get fired up about this issue.

Father Lobo's homily on October 10

Response to Linda Yates, United Church Minister

This was written in response to the article posted yesterday in the Chronicle Herald. It seems that the paper will not post anything that comes from a pro-life perspective. It is interesting that since we began this vigil 23 days ago, not one journalist from either the printed press or radio or television has contacted us for any information about the vigil or the 40 Days campaign. If any other group of people assembled publicly for 40 days, I am sure that we would hear about it. But not Christians on the issue of abortion. I have been called by 4 students however, all of whom were writing papers for their classes or articles for school newspapers on the vigil. At least, they show some interest. What shall I say of The Chronicle Herald? cowardly to say the least.

Response to Religious, Not Anti-Choice

Ms Yates makes the assertion that pro-life supporters are now using the demographic decline of the west to support being anti-choice. Recently the Nova Scotia government published that the population had increased by 1100 last year, with 900 of those being immigrants; what they don’t tell Nova Scotians is that, in the same year, over 2000 babies were aborted in Nova Scotian hospitals. While demographics should be discussed, the pro-life position always has been and always will be about the right to life for the child in the womb.

Talk of “safe, legal abortion” always centers around the woman. Rarely do pro-choice defenders mention what their “choice” entails – the termination of a human being during development in the womb. A woman’s right to her reproductive life is asserted but it is not shown that her right is juxtaposed to the right to life of another individual. Those rights are not equal. It is not the norm that a woman dies from pregnancy; however her baby always dies from abortion. While a pregnancy may pose a greater or lesser inconvenience for the mother, abortion always presents death for her child.

As pro-lifers, we ask why can the woman not be encouraged to forego or alter some of her activities for a short nine months in order for someone else to have a life? The current wait to adopt an infant is so long that she need only “not want” her baby for nine months.

Yates’ words “permanent brunt of pregnancy” indicate that pregnancy and childbearing is now considered a burden whereas it used to be considered a privilege and a blessing. One would hope that religious leaders would be life-affirming, not denigrating.

What is puzzling to me is that women, who claim to be feminists, do not realize that abortion makes them more available as sexual objects to men than ever before. Without the possibility of a pregnancy, men do not assume responsibility for their sexual behaviour and women are left to carry the entire burden of decision. “It’s your problem, take care of it” could be the motto of men who support abortion.

As for the cost of birth difficulties and the costs of raising children, perhaps Yates should consider the cost of caring for premature babies born after a previous induced abortion. The rate of premature delivery is 34% for women with one previous induced abortion; that rate climbs to 82% for women with more than one previous induced abortion.

Vigil participants in 40 Days for Life gather with over 300,000 other Christians in 239 cities around the world, praying for an end to abortion. We consider ourselves to be “a voice for the voiceless”, since the child in the womb has no other advocate in our present society. Would it not be better for all if we were to provide support for women in crisis pregnancies, both material and psychological support, instead of offering abortion as the first and easiest choice? Perhaps we offer it because it is the easiest choice for us; we won’t have a child to help care for, whereas with abortion, it is only the woman who has to bear the burden of her decision.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

United Church Minister Speaks on Abortion ......

Religious, not anti-choice
Wed, Oct 13 - 5:32 PM

I did not realize that human capital had become another tool added to the anti-choice minority’s arsenal until I was being yelled at by a private nursing home operator.

I had come to visit a parishioner who was being fed by the owner/operator at 10:30 a.m. I was a little surprised that my parishioner was just out of bed but sat down quietly to wait. The owner turned to me and in a rage declared that as a United Church minister I was part of this "problem" of the late breakfast.

She ranted that if all the babies that had been aborted were alive she would have no problem getting workers. It did not occur to me to question how she could know whether theoretical fetuses would grow up to be continuing-care attendants. I might also have suggested to her that the reason she could not keep attendants might have something to do with low wages or even, perhaps, her temper.

Again, in the Oct. 4 edition of this paper, I see this argument being resurrected by the anti-choice coalition. Essentially, pregnancy should be enforced in order to repopulate the labour pool.

It seems a strange religious response. This "enforced pregnancy" movement exists at a time when we are greatly relaxing protocols around end-of-life care. Not enough labourers and too many seniors coming through the pipes. Is someone doing the math and concluding that women better be forced to have children? It may be one explanation for the increased anti-choice rhetoric these days.

Many mainline denominations support access to safe, early abortion for women who are experiencing an unwanted pregnancy. Women’s minds and bodies bear the permanent brunt of pregnancy. Birth injuries cost societies around the world an incredible amount of money and long-term pain and anguish for families.

There are some very good reasons why obstetricians have such high insurance rates and why we cannot train enough of them. Pregnancy is fraught with unexpected medical difficulties. After birth, women still bear the primary financial, emotional and physical responsibilities for the raising of children. A woman has the right to determine whether she will bear these burdens.

Some of us, clergy and lay, gathered together to craft a response to the anti-choice coalition. Our ad hoc, quickly formed ecumenical group settled on these words: "The anti-choice movement claims to represent the only religious response. In fact, many women and men of faith support a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body. We are profoundly saddened that some people are still trying to shame and harass women who are making the best choice they can in their circumstances.

"We believe that people of faith should be offering the hand of friendship to support women in need and should be advocating for the availability of safe, inexpensive contraceptives; legal, medically-insured compassionate abortion services; and licensed, affordable, quality child care. God expects that we will use the tremendous powers of intelligence and compassion given to us to make good decisions for ourselves and for our world. We are asking people of faith to celebrate Forty Days of Prayer to Keep Abortion Safe and Legal."

Let me conclude with this quotation comes from prayers written by Faith Aloud ( "We pray for women, for whom pregnancy is not good news, that they know they have choices. We pray for compassionate religious voices to speak out for the dignity and autonomy of women. We pray for our daughters and granddaughters, that they will always know the power of making their own good decisions."

Linda Yates is minister at St. John’s United Church in Halifax.

And one notable comment by B Sacamano:

One wonders just how many people Rev. Yates' ecumenical group represents. As I recall, St. John's United would be the same church that's being turned into condos and seniors housing because most of their congregation is either deceased or nearly so. Moreover, considering the United Church's precipitous decline since it embraced it's post-Christian "social justice" spiritualism (more than any other mainline church in Canada), one has to wonder if Rev. Yates and her friends speak for that many people of faith at all.

For my part, while I certainly don't condone the limitation of abortion to simply increase the labour pool, the decline of Canada's birthrate to below replacement levels is a serious issue, and one that deserves serious debate. I can also say that I have had the opportunity to walk by the 40 Days protesters on a regular basis--and while I don't agree with their position, they conduct themselves in a very dignified manner--sometimes in the face of ugly responses from the pro-abortion side.

In the final analysis, while I disagree with those that would make abortion illegal, I must confess that I am also troubled by Christians who cheer abortion, the "relaxing" of end of life protocols, and demean those with whom they disagree.

I have written a response to The Chronicle Herald, and am waiting to see if they publish it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh Canada, the true north strong and free

A few hours arrest for students at Carleton University for putting up the GAP display

EIGHT years since 1994 in jail for peaceful counseling women outside the Scott abortuary

TAKE BACK CANADA from those who will not allow free speech!

Will the 40 Days for Life campaigns be next?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Rebecca


Mom and Dad ( I know, a day late)

re Comments

I will repeat here that no anonymous comments will be posted. If you wish to comment on any post here, you MUST put your name; otherwise I assume you are a coward and your comment will be dismissed.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The New Protestors

Sunday's Life Chain brought out two (just two) protestors with a sign about women die every 8 minutes from lack of access to safe abortion. There were 183 people who turned out to stand to defend life.

As I found out last night from a priest who spoke with these two women, they are lesbian feminist pro-choicers. My first reaction is what do they have to do with abortion since they aren't planning on having any babies themselves. But then I thought back to other vigils, other pro-life events and recalled that the women who protest do all seem similar. Perhaps this is the new protestor to protecting the unborn - gay women for choice.

If that is the case, I would like to point out that the homosexual section of the population is less than 5%; so, why do they take up so much of the attention? and why are they allowed to push their views as if they comprise the majority of the opposition here?

Let's be aware here of exactly who is coming out to chant slogans at us and let's make it perfectly clear to everyone that these protestors do not represent a majority of any group, and they certainly do not represent women when they speak.

They speak for themselves alone; remember that. They are no threat to anyone; because they are indeed a fringe element of society.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Focus of Pro-Choice Protest has Changed

It used to be that pro-choice protestors would call out "my body, my choice" or similar slogans while pro-life events were being held. That slogan is not heard as much now. What we are hearing are statements such as "70,000 women die worldwide from unsafe abortions" or "every 8 minutes, another woman dies because of lack of access to a safe abortion".

Hard data on abortion in the developing world understandably doesn’t exist. In fact, World Health Organization reports make it clear that the data is very difficult to find. They caution as a result that their numbers are estimates:

“Abortion statistics are notoriously incomplete… As there are no feasible data collection methods that can reliably reflect the overall burden of unsafe abortion, one is left to work with incomplete information on incidence and mortality from community studies or hospitals…This is then adjusted to correct for misreporting and under-reporting…” - Andrea Mrozek, LifeSiteNews, June 25, 2010

As Andrea goes on to say:
Where policy makers are predisposed to viewing legal abortion as safe and illegal abortion as unsafe, this treads closely to an attempt to change national laws—something a maternal aid mandate should not do because it would be an obvious infringement on national sovereignty. On this note, many of those advocating for abortion to be included in this maternal health mandate have a vision to liberalize other sovereign countries’ abortion laws.
Where numbers are not currently known, guestimates should not be taken or reported as hard fact.
Finally, in the maternal health debate, ideology runs rampant and is not limited to the pro-life side.
The 70,000 is more ideology than math and should be treated as such. In this contentious debate, when economic resources are limited, a solution lies in a general improvement in medical care in the developing world, not with abortion provision. Any government would be wise to stay away from the “A word,” working instead to provide basic medical necessities as a main thrust of charitable action in the developing world.

When protestors proclaim this number of deaths and thereby impute that abortion must be kept legal (and they conclude "safe") in our country, they are really stretching some facts here. Without legal abortion, Canada is not going to suddenly revert to Third World health conditions, but that is the conclusion they want the public to make.

But their statement could actually be used to favour the pro-life side: if there are that many deaths due to abortions, surely it would be better for those women to be steered away from abortion altogether. Are the protestors really concerned about those women or are they just trying anything to keep the status quo of abortion here in our country? I am inclined to think the latter is their real agenda.

The second slogan that a woman dies every 8 minutes from an unsafe abortion is also questionable. But even if it were true, then we on the other side of this issue could just as easily turn that around and state that a child dies every 24 seconds from abortion, a fact that is known definitely. Which means that a girl child dies every 48 seconds from abortion; a woman every 8 minutes versus a girl baby every 48 seconds.

No abortion? gosh, a woman who doesn't die and a child who also doesn't die.

Abortion is a great big NO to everything positive. And a huge YES to the self.
As Father Frank Pavone says:

The shed Blood of Christ teaching the meaning of love, which is to sacrificie oneself for the good of the other person. It reverses the dynamic of the culture of death, which sacrifices the other person for the good of oneself. - Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The numbers that won't be talked about

An item on Talk Radio today

Nova Scotia's Population is Up

As of July 1st, 2010, the provincial population was up by about 11 hundred people from the previous quarter, 900 of whom are from net immigration migration....
Nova Scotia also boasts the second oldest population in Canada (behind Newfoundland and Labrador), the most people over the age of 65 and the fewest people under the age of 14.

Meanwhile, Stats Canada's numbers for abortions in the year 2009 are 2074.

Now why aren't those numbers ever mentioned on Talk Radio? This number means that 40 babies per week are aborted, which is about two classrooms. With declining enrolment, school closures, an aging population, an over-burdened health care system with fewer tax-payers to support it, why is no one connecting the dots?

Comment policy: No comments will be published without a name; if you choose to be anonymous, then your comment will be deleted. Because you are a coward.

That Question of Personhood

Pro-choice supporters often resort to the statement that the unborn is not a person in their argument to support legalized abortion. The following is a newsletter from Human Life International which explains clearly the problem with that position.

Politics and the American Person

After having lived in the U.S. and then in Rome for many years, I must say that American politics intrigue me a great deal. I follow the debates and races closely, because I realize that the decisions of American voters affect not only Americans; indeed, they affect the entire world.

For example, almost two years ago a majority of American voters elected a man because he breezily promised "Hope" and "Change", and too few thought to ask such basic questions as: Hope in whom? Or Change to what, precisely, and from what? A religious fervor seemed to overtake masses of people for whom actual religion has obviously become an afterthought, and they suspended all critical thought in order to float away on a sea of make believe hope and liberal change.

Yet such seas can be much rockier than the salesman leads us to believe. This man elected by Americans seems to be on an economic kamikaze mission, he acts as if he is embarrassed to represent your nation abroad, he spurns historical American allies while indicating to the scoundrels of the world that they belong among the elite, he does not attend services on Sunday, then seems surprised that some question his commitment to his faith... truly one could go on and on about the many problems that this man presents to the nation that elected him.

But the most troubling thing one notices when paying close attention to the president's actions is his utter disregard for the human person. It appears that every initiative he is enthusiastic about is designed to diminish the person, and increase his dependency on government to live his life for him.

That is, for those persons who are actually allowed to live their lives. We already know the staggering toll taken by legalized abortion, and we know that the current president has without qualification supported every expansion of the murderous procedure he has ever had the opportunity to support. Not that he would agree that killing these tiny human beings is murder: Like many, he thinks that some human beings are persons worthy of life, and some human beings are not persons, and thus may be destroyed for any reason whatsoever.

The historical, philosophical and moral problems are ones that the president, and most other proponents of abortion refuse to confront, at least openly. If we agree that all persons should be protected and allowed to live until their natural death, then to make abortion and euthanasia legal, we have to find ways to deny the personhood of those who are not wanted.

The problem for those who buy into this bifurcation between humanity and personhood is first historical: this is exactly the formula employed by every mass murderer in history. It is the semantic of oppression, a procedure through which the groups that are targeted to be destroyed or exploited are described with traits that go from having human deficiencies to even denying their humanity. Once this semantic takes hold, those in power go about destroying the newly-depersonalized. (my bolds)

The second problem is philosophical: What exactly determines why this human being should live, and this other one should not? Those who claim that the difference is one of an ability to demonstrate conscience and will or some other more or less measurable trait always ignore the fact that such traits are often transitory. I can be sentient one minute, non-sentient the next, then back to my old self. A baby starts life with very limited conscience and will and all of us run the risk of ending our lives with a diminished state of consciousness. These criteria are also notoriously subjective and subject to revision.

The undeniable fact is that those who defend the destruction of innocent human life in the form of abortion and euthanasia cannot confront the moral issues, nor can they confront the history that proves beyond a doubt the similarity between their reasoning and that of the most heinous murderers of history.

Either every human being is a person, regardless of his or her ability to demonstrate a particular trait or demonstrate their utility and convenience; or we can destroy any one at any time for any reason. One only needs time to come up with this reason and a story that will convince others to cooperate in or endorse the destruction.

But if, as we believe, every human being is a person with the right to live the life he already enjoys, up until the point of natural death, then we owe it to the weakest of our brothers and sisters to defend them, including, and perhaps especially, in law. Guaranteeing the personhood of every human being in law is crucial if we are to get beyond the back and forth of activist judges or politicians who must worry about their own position as much as they must the life of an elderly woman, or a disabled child.

In America, as in the rest of the world, politics is the art of the possible, with the goal of achieving the common good. And there are certainly some courageous politicians fighting for life. But if there is a chance to put and an end to the whole debate with constitutional language that would bind the enemies of life - even a slight chance - that is a chance that those who love life should be willing to take.

In the beautiful state of Colorado, I have learned that voters have a chance to affect such a change, to put language defining and defending every human person into the state constitution, up above the heads of judges and politicians: language that will force these leaders to either obey law respecting the life of the human person or to openly declare their hostility not only to life, but to the rule of law.

Many of us are watching with great anticipation. May the Lord of Life and His Blessed Mother guide the citizens of Colorado in truth and wisdom, and may American persons continue to move in the direction of embracing and defending the life of every human person.


Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula,
Interim President, Human Life International

Noteworthy Quotes

Ann Coulter came through strong at a recent fundraiser for GOProud. There were many concerns a few weeks ago when she accepted an invitation to address a meeting of conservative homosexuals in NYC. Stories were flying about how Ann had sold out and was seeking "common ground" with the people she had previously disparaged.

Some great lines during her speech, check out the story here

Ann Coulter Rocks HomoCon

My personal favourite is when Coulter told the HomoCon audience that they ought to support the pro-life movement, since “as soon as they find the gay gene, you know who's getting aborted."

Another quote I like is one from Michael Coren, in his recent article in The Interim on John Wesley, the great religious reformer in England three hundred years ago. Michael praises Wesley for his religious convictions that translated into action that pressured the ruling classes to make sweeping reforms to correct social injustices, particularly the injustice of slavery. The article is a good read, as are most Michael Coren articles, and I love Michael's answer to those who criticize him for not being sufficiently ecumenical.

If people calling themselves Christian embrace the killing of the unborn, the aged and the ill and then declare war on marriage, it would be sinful to say nothing. Ecumenism has nothing to do with it but truth certainly does. - The Interim, September 2010

Just a week ago, a student reporter from the Dalhousie Gazette called me to ask some questions about 40 Days for Life. Her final question to me was "what do you say to Christians who are pro-choice?" My reply:

You can't be pro-choice and Christian, that is a contradiction. The heart of the Christian religion is the mystery of the Incarnation in which God became man in the womb of a woman; Jesus was born just the same way as all the rest of the human race, with His own DNA, growing and developing in his mother's womb, and being born just as we are. God has told us exactly what He thinks of abortion at the Annunciation.

So if you are attending a church that is waffling on the life issues of abortion and euthanasia and does not support the Biblical principle of one-man-one-woman marriage, then you had better check out and find another church that does. That is, if you claim to be a Christian.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bothering people about abortion

.... effective social reform requires forcing the message on an unwilling audience. It means confronting the culture with what it does not want to hear. - Father Frank Pavone, Ending Abortion, Not Just Fighting It

Vigil sign at 40 Days for Life Halifax

This is why we go public with praying for an end to abortion. One pastor asked me why do we pray publicly? I wanted to say "well are you praying in your church for this?" but bit my tongue. I already knew the answer and resisted the urge to back him into a corner. I replied that praying publicly gets results, that would not happen if we were not in public. Such as having a baby saved, because the pregnant girl decided against having an abortion after seeing people praying for her and others like her. Such as having hospital staff come out and talk to us about how difficult they find it to work in an environment where abortion is accepted and promoted, when their consciences scream against it.

But, to me, the most significant effect of praying publicly is the effect it has on the passersby who see us. I remember clearly the couple who saw our signs, stopped and got into an argument. We couldn't hear what they were saying, but within five minutes, they parted company and went in different directions. It was clear that one agreed with abortion and the other did not, something any couple should discuss in a relationship before they are tempted to resort to this drastic measure.

There are countless people who walk by who are distinctly uncomfortable when they read our signs; many women get steely faces as they pass and one can sense their unspoken anger. Others giggle in an attempt to slough off this issue; others fall silent and don't begin to chat until they are out of earshot and then we see them talking and it is clear that they are talking about what they just read on our signs. I think that many conversations are stimulated by our presence on the public sidewalk praying for an end to abortion and it is important that those conversations happen. People need to talk about abortion; they need to get this out in the open, because we need to know where each other stands on the terminating of unborn life.

Only then can the real discussion begin, when the lid is taken off this issue that is kept silent and hidden from view. When it is brought out into the open, perhaps we will then see the number of women who are suffering from their abortion choices and their brokenness and pain will make the rest of us realise what a suffering we have been complicit to. And perhaps people will begin to get some idea of just how vast this social injustice is, and they may begin to see just how many lives have been snuffed out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Abortion is not just about the women

Pro-choicers these days know that they can't argue about the humanity of the unborn - I mean, really, does anyone seriously think that the babe in the womb is not human? and to say it is not a person is playing semantics. We don't argue about any other species that way: bald eagles' eggs have more protection than the unborn human child; seals get more sympathy from Green Peacers than do humans; you are fined hugely for destroying the egg of a particular turtle - but you never hear anyone objecting that they aren't that species quite yet.

Not so the poor unfortunate fetus, who has absolutely no protection except its mother's expressed desire to let him/her live.

So what do pro-choicers say these days? They talk solely about the woman who wants the abortion. Her rights, her need to have her life, her need for equality with men, her needs, her rights, her everything....

They cite the stats from the UN on the estimated number of deaths of women from unsafe abortions (something that the UN had to rescind as they were wrong - see as if citing stats from the Third World justifies an abortion in the western world.

They they quote the ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada that states:

Forcing a woman by threat of criminal sanction to carry a fetus to term ... is a profound interference with a woman's body and thus a violation of her security of person. -as chalked on the sidewalk in Halifax

The need to cite a ruling from a group of seven (male)judges that you have a right to terminate your pregnancy (legal speak for "kill")is an evasion of responsibility for your own actions and a convoluted way to avoid guilt.

Let's be honest, women, "choice" is a loaded word that is used to avoid the consequences of that "choice". The "choice" was made when you had sexual relations with a man; pregnancy is a natural consequence of sexual activity; trying to avoid the result is a dishonest attempt to escape life's consequences.

We expect people to accept the consequences of their actions all the time; if you drive drunk, you get your license taken away and possibly thrown in jail or fined. If you rob someone and get caught, you go to court and serve time for that. If you kill your neighbour's pet, you will get the law thrown at you plus all the enmity of animal-lovers. But get pregnant, and everyone lets you off the hook because sexual activity is the one area that no one is permitted to criticize.

The result of this abdication of responsibility for one's sexual behaviour is a culture of people who think they can do whatever they please with their own bodies. The sad result of this moral evasion is that millions of unborn human beings pay for their parents' irresponsibility. We have a society of people who have been allowed, nay encouraged, to grow up and get sexually active, but are, at the same time, allowed to behave like children with no responsibility. Time to grow up. Sadly, some of us never get that opportunity.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pope Benedict and 40 Days for Life

Just this last week, we got a letter from the Vatican saying that Pope Benedict will be praying for the 40 Days for Life campaign in London, England when he visits that country this week. The leadership of clergy is so crucial for the pro-life movement...

40 Days for Life

Scroll down to the video from the show Life on the Rock, taped last week at EWTN. Fast forward to the 44:24 minute mark to hear Shawn Carney tell of the Pope's letter to 40 Days for Life headquarters.

When I told an evangelical friend this last night, he understood just how big this is for us Catholics and, with his usual dry humour, he responded "well you got to start somewhere!"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My alcohol consumption increased almost 1000 fold in the year following the abortion ... sometimes all it take is one person speaking truthfully to give other people the freedom to do the same thing. I think about my baby every day...

h/t Unmasking Choice

Abortion is discrimination

Abortion is simply discriminating against people because they are small.
If any of these aborted babies were larger, as in the babies we see in strollers, etc., abortion would not be allowed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

134 to one

When you hear supporters of Planned Parenthood say that they object to being called pro-abortion and prefer to be called pro-choice, tell them the stats.

For every one adoption referral by Planned Parenthood US, they perform 134 abortions.

Too Funny Not to Watch

He claims to be the only comedian from Iran - "don't laugh, that's three more than Germany."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Abortion is the Hot Issue

No other issue gets the reaction that abortion does. Speak out about abortion, even mention the A-word, and you can expect a quick and often fierce reaction.

In Halifax, Veritas Catholic bookstore has been the subject of recent vandalism, notably aimed at pro-life posters, natural family planning, and post-abortion healing.

Vandalised Catholic Bookstore Ups Pro-Life Efforts

With the third 40 Days for Life vigil set to start in just over a week, I guess we can expect to see some reaction this time around. Last year, we got some flack from protestors about half-way through the vigil. It coincided with the very night that a young woman came to Halifax for an abortion, and the next morning she left, having cancelled the appointment. And, at the end of the vigil, we had a handful of protestors come out, singing about 365 Days for Choice. They were rather confused though to find that we were closing up and leaving just as they arrived. They had mistakenly thought we were continuing until 5 pm, when we actually ended at 4 pm. Was that planned? You betcha. We expected to get something of this nature; hence the early closure. We knew from the previous year that something would happen, since we had been water-ballooned at the end of the very first vigil.

Lucien, who operates the Veritas bookstore, is a man of faith. And I pray that he and his staff will be safe in the days to come.

When vandals rip off posters, smear windows with paste and try to glue the lock of the door inoperable, you know you have touched a nerve. Which is all the more reason to keep going. The Word of God is a two-edge sword, cutting between soul and spirit. And that Word exposes the deeds of darkness to the light.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections on the past

All that driving today gave me lots of time to reflect upon something that happened yesterday. It was rather awesome.

Elena and I went to Madonna House yesterday morning. Madonna House is a community of lay people who live under vows, who live in poverty and simplicity; the main focus of this community is to be a haven of prayer in this crazy world. They have many houses around the world, houses of prayer, but they all started at this little place in Combermere, Ontario. The foundress was Catherine de Hueck Doherty, a Russian refugee who escaped from Russia after the 1917 revolution and found her way to Toronto and NYC where she worked with the poor in the inner city.

She and her husband, Eddie, decided to retire in 1948 to a rural idyllic location, but soon found that people sought them out and desired to learn from Catherine how to live a radical but simple Christian life. The result: a lay apostolate of men, women and priests.

This community became my second family in 1967 when I spent a summer there. I grew very attached to Madonna House and visited for several years and, in 1971, I asked to join them. I spent the next 6 months living at Madonna House as an applicant, but left in March of 1972 when it was discerned that this was not my vocation. Madonna House is where my Catholic faith became real, it was the start of my Christian journey when I discovered that Jesus Christ was my saviour too.

I met many wonderful people while visiting and living at Madonna House. One woman was Raandi; she was a visitor like myself and then we had contact in Toronto where we were both working. Raandi later returned to Madonna House and joined and has been there ever since.

Raandi came to our wedding 37 years ago; it is no coincidence that yesterday was our 37th wedding anniversary; whom should I meet on the path outside the gift shop but Raandi? We had not seen each other for about 35 years; the last time I recall seeing Raandi was when she came to our apartment in Ottawa for dinner; I recall trying to chop carrots while carrying Rebecca on my hip, so that had to be 35 years ago. What are the chances of our meeting on that particular day? Why were Elena and I at the gift shop at the exact moment that Raandi walked down the road after visiting a very ill priest?

I didn't even recognize her, it took Elena to say yes it is Raandi, since she knew her from more recent times than I. Raandi was happy to see Elena, but then Elena said it's my mom. We were frozen in time, and we just stared at each other, until we both began to cry. There were few words spoken, what do you say to someone you knew well so long ago but haven't seen in all those years? What do you say to someone whom you know has been walking with the Lord through more than three decades? The story of that journey is written on her beautiful face. All I could do was cry bittersweet tears, knowing that we were both still on the same journey and were being given a rare moment to meet once again.

All day today, when I think of that chance encounter, I am overwhelmed by the wonder of it. To reconnect with someone who gave Nick and I prayer figurines as a wedding gift, someone who offered to pray with me for inner healing of memories, someone whose own pain has made her so attentive to other people's sufferings.

And I wonder what does it all look like from God's vantage point? All of humanity is connected in His vision; it is only at rare moments like yesterday that we are given a tiny glimpse into His incredible plan for us all. I am still in awe. God bless you Raandi. Thank you, Jesus, for making our paths cross again.

Driving through Quebec or trying to

Today, I left my daughter and her family and began the long drive back home to Halifax. The trip here was taken through the US, but the return trip will be through Canada in order to be quicker. This means the facing of Montreal.

Driving through Montreal fills me with foreboding. In fact, that is probably the real reason I drove all the way through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York states - just to avoid Montreal. You see Montreal is built on an island in the St. Lawrence River and you can't avoid it when driving through the province of Quebec, unless you take some slow circuitous route. I have driven this many times but always with someone else, usually my husband who tackles the Montreal part of the trip without getting too upset by it.

My problem driving is that I tend to take in too much of the scenery and this interferes with reading road signs. My daughter Rebecca once told me, "just read the green signs and be sure you take them in, the others aren't important". I try to remember that and it does work.

So today, I arrived on the outskirts of Montreal shortly after 1 pm, which is a great time to drive through Montreal. The only better time would be early morning or afternoon on Saturday or Sunday, provided there is no big sports event going on in the city. Amazingly, I got through Montreal without a glitch, keeping my eyes focused on the signs for 40 East. It was a piece of cake, but I did find it odd that I didn't have to drive through the tunnel. Instead the roads took me over a bridge; I thought that they must have made a detour this summer and now the highway goes over the river instead of under it.

All proceeded nicely, with some intermittent rain, until I saw signs for Quebec City. The road didn't look the same as usual and I wondered why I wasn't seeing the farms of the Eastern Townships as usual. It wasn't until I got lost in Quebec City, that I realised I should have been looking for Hwy 73 south in order to cross the river and get on Hwy 20 towards New Brunswick. Wait, hadn't I already crossed the river in Montreal? Obviously not, since I had to find my way across it in Quebec. Of course, this coincided with rush hour since I got there at 5:30 pm.

A moment of panic, then I realised that no one was waiting for me, I didn't have the dog in the car; the only problem would be if I had to go to the bathroom (fortunately I didn't). So I said a quick prayer to St. Anthony, patron of lost objects; in this case, the lost object was me. Now, I have to say that Quebec leaves something to be desired in the way of signs, it isn't just my stupidity or lack of awareness. Plus they don't put the signs in English, so I actually confused "ouest" for "est" at one point and was going back to Montreal. The thought occurred to me that, if the Last Judgment was like this traffic jam with all the billions of people, there was a very good chance I would take the wrong turn.

I finally emerged from Quebec City at about 6:15 and headed east once again. The rain got heavier and I had another hour to drive to reach La Pocatiere, which is our traditional stopping point as it is exactly half way between Elena's house and ours. The low gas light went on, just as I hit a particularly deserted strip of the road, no gas stations to be found, so I had to hope that I had enough vapours to get me to La Pocatiere. I didn't look forward to walking there, buying gas in a can and walking back to the car (no cell phone, as that went home with Nick two weeks ago).

All's well that ends well, whatever that saying means. And I crashed at the Cap Martin Motel. Went into the restaurant for dinner, and couldn't eat half of it since I was too tired. But I am safely tucked into a nice clean room with a comfy bed, and a glass of white wine. Thank God for these small pleasures.